Call for Participation

There is growing interest in the fields of computer supported cooperative work (CSCW), social computing, and human computer interaction (HCI) in rural areas. In particular, scholars have begun to investigate how to make these sites more central to computing research and design, and not solely as sites with failing or falling behind infrastructure or low technology adoption rates. In this workshop, we will foreground how the study of rural areas and their relationships to technology draw attention to significant topics in CSCW and HCI, including biases inherent in crowd computing platforms, sustainable practices, design, and aging populations. We also recognize that the importance of information and communication technology (ICT) non-use and other aspects rural life, such as agriculture, tight-knit communities, distance, and remoteness, can inform our research and practice.

The primary goal of this workshop is to bring together and establish a network of researchers who are doing, informing, or interested in computing research in and about rural technology users. During the workshop, participants will come together to collaborate, reflect, and discuss on their and others research (e.g. discussing methodological challenges of the rural, working together on problem identification and research questions related to Rural Computing).

Interested participants should submit a 2-4 page position or research paper in the CHI Extended Abstracts format (excluding references), to ruralcomputingworkshop@gmail.com in a PDF format. The paper should also include a short author biography that includes current research or potential goals of research. We suggest that papers address the question: How can computing research broadly, and CSCW and HCI in particular, prioritize the experiences, practices, and needs of people in rural places? Topics of interest we see encompassed in this question (and in this workshop) include:

  • The design and use of ICTs in rural geographies, including rural cultures of technology use, rural hacks and work-arounds, and non-use.
  • Multiple ruralities (e.g., “developing regions,” queer and other identity-based understandings of rurality, etc.).
  • Methodological challenges of the rural, including the changing and context-dependent meaning of “rural” and the challenge of bridging rural and non-rural populations.
  • Moving HCI and ICTD discourse, research, and practice beyond questions of access and infrastructure.
  • Identifying overlap with research in ICTD, but also highlighting how rural computing (and related disciplines like rural, environmental, or community sociology) can offer new CSCW insights distinct from and unaddressed by ICTD
  • Recognizing that understanding ICT use in rural areas can contribute to significant topics of interest in CSCW, such as sustainability, education, and cross-cultural understanding.
  • How studies of computing can learn from economic and cultural activities especially present in the rural (e.g., agriculture, natural resource extraction, differing values, etc.).

Important Dates

First round of submissions due: September 5, 2018 5PM PST

First round of accepted papers announced: September 10, 2018 (in time for the early registration deadline)

Second round of submissions due: September 21, 2018 5PM PST

Second round of accepted papers announced: September 25, 2018

Workshop date: November 4, 2018

Application Procedure

Please submit your extended abstract as outlined above to ruralcomputingworkshop@gmail.com. All proposals must be submitted in English. Papers will be reviewed by the organizers on quality, perspective, and fit with the workshop’s goals. Accepted position papers and author biographies will be posted on the website prior to the workshop. Each paper will require at least one author who is a paid registrant and in attendance at the workshop. It is possible to register only for the workshop, though there are additional registration fees (see fee structure here) for those who do so.